BWW Review: REALITY THEATRE at SummerWorks Panders to the Millennial Attention Span
A study by Microsoft in 2015 revealed that the average person's attention span (related to social media) is down to eight seconds - less than that of a goldfish. REALITY THEATRE, written by Julia Lederer and directed by Rebecca Applebaum, satisfies this need for constant change. Part of the SummerWorks Festival, the show features quick, impactful scenes - commenting on evolving technology, diminishing social interaction, the limits of commitment and - time.
Just after texting my partner, "I don't feel like human-ing today," REALITY THEATRE jumped into an exposition of our generation's journey away from human interaction. Akosua Amo-Adem begins the play by dragging a chair downstage and staring out into the eyes of each audience member - one by one - as she eats popcorn. Why is it so hard to make eye contact with a complete stranger? Why is our first impulse to laugh?
The laughter continues throughout the piece. I wish I would have written down some of Lederer's one liners - her witty writing had me laughing the entire play. One especially hilarious monologue, performed by stage chameleon, Krista Morin, deals with the life of a method actor playing the spoon in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. The scene is complete with an equally-hilarious spoon costume, designed by Brandon Kleiman (see main photo for a glimpse).
Christine Urquhart's set design is simple and effective - bright red tables and chairs are arranged to create the foundations of various spaces. The number of different pieces does create some clunky scene changes - but they are saved by Andy Trithardt's sound design. An orchestra tuning to familiar melodies in Beauty and the Beast was the perfect introduction to the previously mentioned spoon scene.
REALITY THEATRE is an exaggerated study of our reality. A scene of three people, hypnotized by their futuristic computer sunglasses, becoming completely lost after losing connection to the internet - felt vaguely reminiscent to this week's "cellpocalyspe" in Atlantic Canada, where hundreds of thousands of people lost cell service for a few hours. REALITY THEATRE feels close enough to be relatable, but far enough away that Lederer's weird reality remains entertaining.
If you're still reading this, congratulations - you've lasted longer than a millennial and a goldfish.
REALITY THEATRE is presented as part of the SummerWorks Festival and runs through August 13th, 2017 at the Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON.
For more information and to book tickets, visit http://summerworks.ca/artists/reality-theatre/
Thursday August 10th - 9:30pm to 10:30pm
Saturday August 12th - 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Sunday August 13th - 8:00pm to 9:00pm
(photo credit: Bryanna Reilly)